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LEGO Mindstorms Rig Copies Floppies

by Lambert Varias

Eli Carter’s grandfather was an accomplished nerd – he worked on software that was used on fighter aircraft, on the Apollo missions and even wrote the first software that could operate a nuclear reactor. When his grandfather passed away, Eli was tasked with archiving the 443 3.5-inch floppy disks that his grandfather left. How Eli went about it would have made his grandfather proud:

floppy archiving machine by eli carter

The strange contraption you see above is Eli’s LEGO Mindstorms 3.5″ Floppy Disk Archiving Machine, and together with a laptop running Fedora, an Android phone and a Python script it has made the archiving process fully automatic. The machine grabs a disk, aligns it above the phone to have its picture taken, feeds it into a USB floppy drive to back up the data and finally plops the backed up disk down to a waiting box:

Hacks like this make me feel unworthy of playing with LEGO. Eli also has another LEGO project on his website, one that’s less functional and more for fun – a LEGO Rubik’s Cube.



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